Fungus is one of the leading causes of plant disease in the garden and in landscaping. It can cause problems with flowering, fruit and vegetable production and plant aesthetics and can even lead to death if left untreated. Identifying the fungus is the first step to finding treatment and preventing spread.
A fungus infection will show a variety of symptoms on the plant, which can help lead to identification of the disease. Wilting leaves, discoloration of the stem and leaves of the plant, dryness and visible fungus or mildew are all potential signs of fungal infection.
Some plants are commonly infected with certain fungal diseases. Looking up your plant for common infections can help you as you seek potential causes of your plant's bad health. Leaf spotting and blighting, root and crown rots, and wilting fungus diseases affect some plants while leaving others alone.
If identification of a fungus is not possible with the resources you have at hand, or if the plant is showing unusual symptoms, lab work may be required to identify the fungal infection. Many Universities provide the service for a small charge, or for free if there is a study of local infection.
To have lab work done, pack a plant that exhibits infection symptoms in a box with padding without using plastic, as this can kill the infection or wilt the plant. When possible, labs prefer sampling from the plant during different stages of infection as well as all parts of the plant including the root system.
Packing and Sending
Plants need to be kept cool and moist before shipping and should be sent as soon as possible after the sample is taken. The container the sample is sent in should be sturdy and crush-resistant.